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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Friday - July 06, 2007

From: Knowlesville, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Possible identification of common mullein in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

OK I have a monster size plant, growing beside my patio, looked weedlike similar to a burdock when young, but different and interesting. So we let it grow its now about 7'2" tall grows about 2-3" per day (esp. the flower mass on top). Topped with a phallic like flower mass with green buds and small yellow flowers. Leaves are broad +/- 6" wide and 18" long, burdock green. Many smaller offshoots of the flowering phallic like masses many at bases of the leaves.

ANSWER:

Hmmm...very interesting! One plant that comes to Mr. Smarty Plant's mind is Verbascum thapsus, common mullein, although the description doesn't match exactly. Missouri Plants has more photos and information. If this isn't your plant, we would be happy to try to identify it if you will send us a photo. Please read the instructions for submitting photos under Plant Identification on the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page.
 

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